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Possible EPIA distro for Linux, Can we make one?

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  • Possible EPIA distro for Linux, Can we make one?

    I just made the switch to Linux on all of my personal computers plus my mom's computer (surprisingly I get very few complaint's from her now...) and I'm really starting to like Linux. I was wondering how hard would it be to build a custom distro just for the EPIA motherboards in an automotive environment? Is this a project that we could take on that would further push this field into the mainstream?

    Although Linux takes some getting use to, the advantages of free and high flexibility would make it the perfect solution. On my car that uses Win2k I have to use about 5 differen't programs to make window's do what I want it to do and how I want it to look. Linux there is an endless amount of possibilities and the possibility to truly get it done right instead of using bandaides all over the place...

    Anyway, is there anyone here who really has a grasp on Linux and what it takes to develop a distro? We could start out with one of the smaller distros and just add the features needed.

    The only software application I see as a problem right now is GPS but I think that could be solved through using Wine (with fingers crossed...) or hopefully in the not to distant future a commercial package or an open package will come along.

    As a side note I would have to imagine that VIA has probably looked at a custom distro for the EPIA board as it would make sense if they want to push into embedded and automotive applications. Maybe we should campaign on them a little and see if we could get them to work on a project?

    Anyway, any takers on this idea? Also, has anyone run Linux on the EPIA and if so what distro and what problems did you encounter?

  • #2
    makeing a custom distro isn't that hard. I made my wardrive distro out of linux from scratch. That is not anything a newbie should jump into but a lot of small distro's use that to get a base.

    Its very easy to make a custom redhat installer. They have a kickstart app that you can add in custom rpms and take out what you don't need and get things custom to a certain enviroment. I use that here at work so when we get a bunch of servers in I just load up my custom RH installer disk and hit install a bunch of times and everything is totally done. I don't have to select which packages and such.

    So yes its very possible and pretty easy with some reading of course
    '98 Explorer Sport
    http://mp3car.zcentric.com (down atm)
    AMD 800mhz 192megs RAM 60gig hard drive 9 inch widescreen VGA
    80% done

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    • #3
      If I'm understanding this it is a matter of getting the kernel up and running plus a network and using either urpmi or apt-get and then getting what packages desired? I haven't done any reading on this but I plan to definitly look into this and do some reading when I get thetime. I think there are some great posibilities.

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      • #4
        the easiest place to start into looking into making your own install is using redhat's kickstart. Thats the easiest way to package a custom RH distro. If you want to make your own then thats a bit more work
        '98 Explorer Sport
        http://mp3car.zcentric.com (down atm)
        AMD 800mhz 192megs RAM 60gig hard drive 9 inch widescreen VGA
        80% done

        Comment


        • #5
          getting gps up and running under linux wouldn't be hard at all... there's plenty of libraries and apps out there for it... check out www.freshmeat.net and search for gps... i've actually been looking into doing something like this myself, most likely based off gentoo and using SDL for the framebuffer support (no need to waste space/time/or memory on xf86)...

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          • #6
            Some dude used a commercial version of wine (published by code weavers, sorry don't know the name) to run routis.
            My Carputer! (More Car Pics at the end)
            2 Kicker Comp 10"
            Epia M-9000, 256 MB DDR, 120 Gig HD
            Lilliput 7" VGA Touchscreen
            Check it out?!

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            • #7
              You know what. You may use some of the existing builds.
              Here is the one I know very well.
              http://freepia.mooo.com It uses EPIA M as a simple media center.
              You may adjust it to your needs. I would recommend to use EPIA M instead of regular EPIA.
              If you need more links, I can share them as well.
              Bors/
              Car pc integration with ease
              Car mediacenter

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              • #8
                linux

                We should just start a FAQ or somthing to help people understand what they have to do to get linux to run properly on a caraudio box.

                Did everyone remember to mount they're root partitions read only?
                .
                -+::----------::+-
                Amd 1800XP, 650mb Ram, 60Gb HD, SB Audigy +MP3
                No Power
                Debian Linux, Kernel 2.4.24
                -+::----------::+-

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                • #9
                  Hey,

                  It is interesting that you thought about linux distro for epia. I have been contemplating this for a week now and I even stopped into the bookstore to check out "Building embedded systems with Linux" orielly press

                  It is flying over my head because I have a lot of other things on my plate due to school, buying car, etc. It got me thinking about carputers and what I really need is a board that is built to strict specifications... and then an operating system like linux that will function optimally for the hardware. I don't want any lag time watsoever, nor do I want rebooting and crap. But since I've never even touched linux the only certain advantage to using it is space. Is there a speed advantage and boot time advantage to using linux as an embedded system built around say the epia m to start?

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                  • #10
                    Reading this I was reminded of something I learned when I vistited the mini-box.com shop. They actually have an embbeded version of linux that is small enough to fit on a compact flash card. I think it was a 16mb compact flash to boot. It is already designed to work with the EPIA although for a little different application but this could be a start.

                    I know Andrei (the head guru at mini-box) has been on this forum before. If he sees this maybe he can jump in and explain a little bit about the distro they use. I'm pretty sure mini-box didn't develop it, I think they farmed it out to some company in Europe.

                    Still, if we can get something to start with and build from there.... The thought of having a whole package setup with GPS/DVD/MP3/Divx and anything else you would want available and all set to work together is tantalizing.

                    Do any of you guys consider your self good with Linux? In othe words do any of you have the know how on how to build your own distro? I've learned quite a lot since I switched from windows but I'm in no way proficient to start something like this.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by adamis
                      Still, if we can get something to start with and build from there.... The thought of having a whole package setup with GPS/DVD/MP3/Divx and anything else you would want available and all set to work together is tantalizing.
                      There is allready a debian based distro that will give you everything you are asking for minus ofcourse GPS. Anyway you look at it the only way we'll get GPS integreated into linux is getting on routis's case about releasing a linux installer.

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                      • #12
                        If you want to see one of the best Linux cars read below.

                        Originally posted by adamis
                        I just made the switch to Linux on all of my personal computers plus my mom's computer (surprisingly I get very few complaint's from her now...) and I'm really starting to like Linux. I was wondering how hard would it be to build a custom distro just for the EPIA motherboards in an automotive environment? Is this a project that we could take on that would further push this field into the mainstream?

                        If you really want to get this going go to:
                        http://www.dashpc.com

                        This site is ran by Chris Bergeron. A long time user of Linux in-car EPIA. His car has been featured at events such as the "Creme de le Creme" Car PC installation at the 2003 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and PhreakNIC 6

                        And for the front end go to:
                        http://sourceforge.net/project/proje...group_id=43989

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                        • #13
                          I've saw this sight when I first starting searching out how to put a computer in a car. Looks like he has pretty much everything started and going. Guess I'm going to do a lot of playing around to see if maybe this is what I want. This dude definitly is a perfectionist if I ever saw one...

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by adamis
                            I've saw this sight when I first starting searching out how to put a computer in a car. Looks like he has pretty much everything started and going. Guess I'm going to do a lot of playing around to see if maybe this is what I want. This dude definitly is a perfectionist if I ever saw one...
                            Yea him and Todd are the top 2 guys in the Linux Carputer area. IMHO

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                            • #15
                              I've recently installed ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) after they sent me free cds. It is very fast and very easy too.

                              I used to use Mandrake but found that I couldn't patch the kernels without errors and none of the compiled kernels would run.

                              In Ubuntu everything just works, and it is so much faster too. Go on order some CDs from them (the installation is off 1 CD, you also get sent a live CD) or download it and give it a try. It is based on Debian.

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